Christian Horner speaks for first time after F1 boss cleared in Red Bull investigation

Christian Horner insisted he is “pleased that the process is over” after being cleared of “inappropriate behaviour” towards a female colleague.

Red Bull Racing’s parent company Red Bull GmbH announced on February 5 that Horner was under investigation following an accusation made against him. Horner emphatically denied the claim and the 50-year-old was cleared on Wednesday.

Speaking to reporters after arriving in the paddock on Thursday ahead of the first Grand Prix of the 2024 season in Bahrain, he said: “Look, I’m just pleased that the process is over. Obviously I can’t comment about it but we’re here very much now to focus on the Grand Prix and the season ahead and trying to defend both of our titles.”

Asked if he hoped if it was the end of the matter, he replied: “I can’t give you any further comment but the process has been conducted and concluded.”

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Finally, he was probed if there was still unity within the Red Bull ranks and Horner had a forthright answer of: “The team has never been stronger.”

Horner, who has protested his innocence throughout, was questioned by a lawyer for eight hours earlier this month at a secret London location. During the internal probe, he continued to be present for official Red Bull activities – including a car launch in Milton Keynes earlier this month, where he insisted it was “business as usual”, and pre-season testing in Bahrain last week.

Red Bull announced on Wednesday that the investigation had finally concluded and Horner was to remain in his role. They said they were confident the investigation had been “fair, rigorous and impartial”, but added that the report – understood to stretch to 150 pages – is “confidential”.

A statement from Red Bull: “The independent investigation into the allegations made against Mr Horner is complete, and Red Bull can confirm that the grievance has been dismissed. The complainant has a right of appeal. Red Bull is confident that the investigation has been fair, rigorous and impartial.

“The investigation report is confidential and contains the private information of the parties and third parties who assisted in the investigation, and therefore we will not be commenting further out of respect for all concerned. Red Bull will continue striving to meet the highest workplace standards.”

Christian Horner with Adrian Newey
Christian Horner with Adrian Newey 
Getty Images)
Horner flew back to England as he awaited his fate before heading back to the Gulf kingdom on a private jet on Wednesday. He has been Red Bull team principal since they entered F1 19 years ago and is the longest-serving boss on the grid.

Horner was pictured arriving at the track in Bahrain on Thursday morning ahead of practice, arriving deep in conversation with Red Bull technical officer Adrian Newey.

Christian Horner
Christian Horner speaks with Adrian Newey 
Getty Images)
Who will win the Bahrain GP? Share your predictions in the comments below

Reigning world champion Max Verstappen has already insisted that his preparations have not been impacted by the probe into Horner. Asked if his plans had been altered, the Dutchman replied on Wednesday: “It doesn’t. I’m very focused on just the performance of the car and myself.

“Hopefully it will be resolved very soon. It’s a whole team effort that everyone has to stick together and work to more success, so that’s why it’s important to get everything resolved very soon.”

Speaking specifically on Horner, Verstappen added: “He is very important otherwise he wouldn’t have been in that position for such a long time. If your team boss disappears for one of two races, for whatever reason, not much is going to happen because everybody is in their role. Then things will start to be different if one of the leaders is not there anymore, but we are not thinking like that.

“We trust the process and we have to see what the outcome will be. Besides that, everyone is focused on what happens on track and we are in a good mood to get going again.”

Christian Horner
Christian Horner arrives in Bahrain 
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Red Bull head into the Bahrain GP aiming to make it eight consecutive victories in a row. Verstappen had won each of the final seven races of the 2023 campaign to secure both the Drivers and Constructors Championships.

Martin Brundle has already predicted another comfortable success in what will be a record-breaking 24-race season. He said: “At the moment it looks like it’s Red Bull with Ferrari chasing them hard, pretty much as we finished last year really.

“Then, from what I understand having spoken to various people since the test, it’s Mercedes, Aston Martin and McLaren very close together, with all three hard on the heels of the Ferrari hopefully. Alpine and Haas seem to be struggling. Williams are doing ok but haven’t yet made the step they want and have got to understand their new car.

“Then you’ve got the RB and the Sauber teams looking pretty handy and possibly they might get in the mix. So that looks to be the pecking order as we go into the start of the season.”

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